To create a low maintenance, ‘cottage-garden’ style border over an area of grass that lay between the farmhouse and the road. Planting to be colourful, wildlife-friendly and provide year-round interest.

Border before re-design

Border before re-design


  • To be viewed from both the road and the house.
  • Pump chamber located in the centre of the border needed to be concealed but accessible.
  • Plants growing against the railings need to die down seasonally to enable occasional maintenance of the railings.
  • Largely east-facing but front and south end of the border are in full-sun. Clay soil with some dryer areas by the house and the tree.


I wanted to create a bold, striking border that would enhance the beaty of this old Cotswold stone house. It was designed to be riot of colour for much of the year. Flowers in strong shades of blue, purple and pink were combined with dark foliage and set against the pale walls of the house.

The border is informal and densely planted with simple, single peonies; English roses and soft mounds of hardy geranium and heuchera. Throughout the summer the Veronicastrum, Sidalcea and Verbena bonariensis attract clouds of butterflies and bees.

Winter interest is provided by flowering evergreen shrubs (such as Daphne ‘Odora’), Helleborus and early spring bulbs. Some architectural perennials such as Verbena bonariensis and Veronicastrum are left to stand through the winter to provide additional structure.

The border requires very little maintenance since the dense planting prevents most weeds from establishing.

Border in July

Border in September

Anemone 'Andrea Atkinson'

Clematis on railings, Paeonia in late spring, Rosa 'Mme. Gregoire Staechelin'